Home > Gypsy's Blood (All The Pretty Monsters #1)(11)

Gypsy's Blood (All The Pretty Monsters #1)(11)
Author: Kristy Cunning

His glassy blue eyes meet mine just as we reach the freshly plowed road, where a very nice car is idling off to the side.

“Why is it so hard to believe I’m not a Portocale?” I ask him, my eyes not leaving his.

His gaze narrows. “Because we know a Portocale when we see one, Violet. And you, little clueless one, are in more danger than you realize. What in the hell did Marta plan to accomplish by leaving you fully in the dark about the world you’re very much a part of?”

My brow furrows, because…crazy talk…

“Don’t mind me. I’m just inspecting his ass for the paddle size I’ll need when you finally agree that lending me your body makes you a good friend,” Anna drones on.

A terrifying howl echoes from deep in the woods, and I clutch him tighter as I stare over his shoulder. He can be crazy so long as he keeps the pointy end of his swords facing things that want to eat me.

He drops me to my feet as abruptly as he picked me up, and he opens the passenger side door, as another ominous, somewhat closer howl rocks the night air, joined by a lot of much smaller howls.

“Sorry, but we’re kind of in a hurry,” Vancetto states with a dry expression as he gestures for me to get into the warm car.

I look at the black leather, then toward the woods, then at him as he sighs impatiently.

“Really, Violet, I’d rather not have to kidnap you after having just saved you, in an effort to save you again.”

When the howls sound a helluva lot closer, I hop in and decide he’s still the lesser threat.

The door slams just as I get completely in, and his side opens almost as quickly, which is impossibly fast for a man to move.

“The snow is about to be a pain in my ass,” he mutters to himself, even though it’s not as deep on the road as it was on the ground.

I don’t know when a snowplow came through, but clearly it did at some point.

I’m not sure how, but he slams it into gear and barrels down the road in reverse without ever once looking behind him.

“If I could shit myself, I totally would right now,” Anna says from the backseat, not even startling me with her surprise entrance.

I’m too busy getting white knuckles, as Vancetto cuts the wheel, forcing the car to do a sliding one-eighty until we’re facing in the right direction. I get dizzy when he shifts the gears again, and I focus on not vomiting as he propels us forward too fast on slick snow.

Chapter 9

VIOLET

“I’d hold your hair back if I could use my ghostly powers that way,” Anna assures me as I embarrassingly continue to retch in the fancy, incredibly well-groomed bushes next to the fancy mansion while standing on the fancy driveway.

Because…I’m not fancy.

“Thank you for managing to wait until we got out of the car before doing that,” Vancetto says from behind me in a bored drawl. “But when you’re done, it’s best to get inside. I have a feeling a visitor will be here shortly, and it’s much safer for you inside. My visitors usually show up with uncontrollable tempers and anger issues.”

“Want me to take the wheel and drive your body for a bit? Give you a break? I promise not to have too much fun with your vagina,” Anna offers with as much sympathy as she can muster, while I ineloquently wipe my mouth with the back of my hand.

“Do you ever think about anything besides sex?” I ask…a little too loudly, as though I want everyone in the back to freaking hear.

“I can assure you, after what I’ve been witnessing for the past few minutes, sex is certainly not entertaining my thoughts at present,” Vancetto states emotionlessly from somewhere behind me.

“I’m talking to the two fireflies getting it on despite the blizzard,” I say to him without missing a beat, causing Anna to snort and choke back her laughter. “I hate you,” I add quietly to Anna as she continues to struggle not to laugh.

Why does my dead bestie have to be a relentless bitch?

Finally, I turn around, finding Vancetto holding my cloak out for me to take.

“None of that was normal,” I decide to point out as I warily take back my cloak and weigh the options of stepping into his home.

The sun has completely set now, so it’s dark, daunting, and super creepy in front of his mostly dark mansion. Power bill must be a bitch, so maybe that’s why it’s so dark?

“Depends on your standard of normal,” he states while dusting snow off him, as he offers his arm to me like some sort of archaic gentlemanly gesture that makes my eyebrows hit my hairline.

“He’s clearly got money and chivalry, so I’m not sure why manners seem to baffle you,” Anna states, still sighing dreamily as she runs her hand over his chest, much to his oblivion.

His eyes stay fixed on me, but I pass up his arm and move toward his home, getting under a covering to stay out of the snow.

“You keep calling me a Portocale, wolves randomly attack me in the woods while I’m on my way to see where Marta Portocale was found dead, and then—”

“Marta Portocale was certainly not found dead on Morrigan property,” he interrupts as he pushes open the door to his home.

His eyes find mine, and I weirdly believe him. Which is stupid, but I almost feel like it’s the right thing to do.

Taking a step back, my eyes narrow.

“Are you somehow forcing me to believe you?”

“Certainly not,” he says with his lips twitching. “But you should get inside. I smell the stench of wolf in the air. We’re going to have visitors soon.”

“The wolves are tracking us?” I ask incredulously.

I sniff the air, smelling…nothing but the outdoors and wet snow.

“I can’t believe this is really happening,” he says while pinching the bridge of his nose. “No one is going to believe the extent of your ignorance.”

“Dayum. He just said that,” Anna states while blinking in surprise.

“Did you seriously just call me stupid?” I ask him like he’s lost his mind.

“I certainly did not,” he assures me. “There’s quite a difference between stupidity and ignorance. Ignorance is not knowing one’s circumstances well enough to carry on appropriate conversations about such. Stupidity is standing outside after I’ve already told you the danger hasn’t yet passed,” he says while arching a condescending eyebrow at me.

“Okay. Now he called you stupid. It’s time to use that indignant tone again,” Anna says as she stands next to me like she’s showing solidarity. “Or just let me use your body and I’ll give him a good slap,” she suggests, ruining the moment of comradery as she hedges her way back to the topic of renting the use of my vagina.

When I hear another howl, I decide to yell at him from the safety of the house. It’ll be stupider to walk home right now, even though none of this makes any sense. I can afford to make some stupid decisions in ways others can’t, so I decide to roll the dice.

He follows behind me in less of a hurry, and he shuts and locks the door with an annoyed smile on his face.

“Just how much do you know about the town you’ve moved into, Violet Portocale?” he asks with a serious expression.

My eyes flick over his that I can barely see in the dimly lit room, and I exhale harshly as I tally the events of the day. From the freak hailstorm that turned into a sunny sky, to the freak blizzard that is still active even now, to the uncaring townspeople who never missed a beat, to the wolves randomly attacking me while I was wearing a red cloak…

The red cloak isn’t important to the overall outcome of the day, but it’s important to point out the entirely too maddening irony.

“Something tells me I don’t really know much of anything,” I confess as a woman comes scurrying in.

The room brightens just a little, as though there’s an actual dimmer on it and no one feels the need to blind us.

A fire starts on either end of the massive room, and I glance around at all the antique decorations, things this family has probably been collecting from generation to generation. You know, the way old-money rich people do.

He’s so rich that his monthly order alone could sustain me if I didn’t want to bother with any other clients.

I’ve been considering only working for the four Houses, but I feel like that’s also a reckless decision, since they’d hold all the keys to my financial fate.

My mind stops wandering around the pointless corners when the unnamed woman suddenly puts a pretty teal drink in a martini glass in my hand. It even has a totally adorable orange twisty thingy wrapped around a large cherry’s stem.

The cherry at the bottom actually makes my mouth water.

My grin spreads when the cherry cracks open suddenly, and little fizzy bubbles float to the top, creating a cool gold color that takes over the teal.

The two cherry halves float to the top as well, as the disconnected stem floats with the orange twist.

“You’re supposed to actually drink it before getting drunk,” Anna points out like this confuses her.

How can she be confused? Is she not watching this drink right now?

The little bubbles in the gold finally shift, and the color begins to clear until the drink is just as transparent as purified water.

Vancetto’s dark, knowing look is the first thing I see through the glass…as my smile slowly slips, realization sweeping over me with a sickening pop.

It’s times like these I remember how much of a Portocale gypsy I am. We really like colorful, ornate, over-the-top things. We’re often a slave to our desire to admire pretty things.

“You’ve been staring at him through that glass for ten minutes. For fuck’s sake, do something less awkward,” Anna stage-whispers.

“Now, Violet, what did you say your last name was?” he asks me as my jaw slowly grinds.

I’ve now fallen for this twice, unable to resist either time. The last time got me stabbed. This time just has me squirming…so far.

I glance around, seeing that aside from Anna, we’re alone and closed up inside this room. I suppose there’s no point in denying it now.

“I was under the impression illusion capsules were quite impossible to come by,” I say, clearing my throat.

“I have my ways. The capsules seek out old gypsy blood. The stronger the blood—”

“The longer the illusion,” I finish, clicking my tongue as I smile through my ire. “Well aware.”

“Portocales usually last a full ten minutes if they’re very young,” he says, and I tense as he steps closer, his hand lifting to my face.

Just the tips of his fingers brush my cheek. I flinch at first, but relax when I realize he’s not going to hurt me. He’s doing that intense studying thing again like he’s searching for something.

“Your greatest weakness isn’t your lack of knowledge, though,” he murmurs, eliciting a tremble from me when his thumb brushes over my lower lip.

   
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